Thugs deployed by politicians, other factors made election difficult, says INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that thugs deployed by politicians and other factors made the 2023 general elections difficult.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Monday when the Commission met with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in continuation of its review of the elections conducted in Nigeria.
Yakubu said in the meeting which took place at the Commission’s conference room, Abuja that the public is aware there were many challenges encountered before and during the elections.
He stated that the severe cash and fuel situations were compounded by the perennial insecurity nationwide.
“Their impact on our deployment plans, compounded by the behaviour of some of our own officials in the field, made logistics management particularly challenging.
“The deployment of thugs by some political actors made election day administration difficult in a number of places,” the INEC boss said.
Yakubu said that unlike previous regular engagements, Monday’s meeting was intended to focus more on this year’s polls by way of introspection, stocktaking, review and evaluation.
The INEC chairman added that he believes this is one of the best ways to continue to improve the electoral process.
“As I said on several occasions, since we commenced the review meetings three weeks ago, the Commission welcomes diverse opinions about the election in so far as their purpose is to improve the future conduct of elections and to consolidate our democracy,” he stated.
“Since the 2019 General Election, we have worked together with the National Assembly, civil society organisations and other stakeholders for the improvement of the electoral process.
“We were meticulous in our preparations for the election and there have been many positive developments in this regard. One area is the repeal and re-enactment of the Electoral Act 2010 into the Electoral Act 2022.
“The new law provides a period of 180 days for political parties to conclude their primaries and submit the names of candidates and the political parties took advantage of it for the 2023 General Election,” Yakubu said.
According to him, this enabled INEC to commence the process of producing the sensitive materials for the election in good time.
The INEC boss thereafter said that he was glad to report that the printing of all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2023 General Election was entirely done in Nigeria.
He added that this is the first time in 44 years since the transition to democratic rule in 1979 that this step was taken and achieved in spite of the record number of 93.4 million registered voters and over five hundred million ballot papers, result sheets and other documents for the five categories of the main elections and supplementary polls.
For this reason, Yakubu said that the 2023 General Election was held as scheduled for the first time in the last four electoral cycles without a postponement arising from the non-arrival of materials.
Furthermore, he stated that the commission was able to expand voter access to polling units for the first time since the initial delimitation exercise in 1996.
“Similarly, we introduced many technology-based innovations, including the physical registration and online pre-registration of voters using the INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED, the various portals for the nomination of candidates, party agents and the accreditation of observers and the media,” he explained.
“We also collected and published data on the distribution of voters not only by age and occupation but also by disability.
“Within the limits of available resources, we also tried to provide such inclusivity materials as braille jackets and magnifying glasses for some categories of voters with disabilities,” the INEC chairman stressed.
He said that while voter accreditation using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was very successful, the uploading of results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), especially for the presidential election, encountered a glitch as explained in the statement released by the Commission on 26th February, 2023.
“The Commission is aware that this matter is currently the subject of litigation and would reserve its comments for now,” he said.
“Nevertheless, the performance of the technology deployed for the election is part of the ongoing review of the 2023 General Election.”
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